Wilhelm von Opel

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Wilhelm von Opel (15 May 1871 – 2 May 1948), known as Wilhelm Opel before being ennobled in 1917, was one of the founders of the German automobile manufacturer Opel. He introduced the assembly line to the German automobily industry.

His father, Adam Opel, had founded the family firm as a manufacturer of sewing machines, and later diversified into bicycle manufacturing. After Adam's death in 1895, control of the company passed to his five sons. In 1898, Wilhelm and his brother Fritz brought Opel into the automobile industry with the purchase of the small Lutzmann automobile factory at Dessau.

In 1917, Wilhelm and his brother Heinrich Opel were raised to the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. Their brother Karl was raised to the same rank the following year. Wilhelm had one son and one daughter, Fritz von Opel and Eleonore von Opel.

1933, Opel joined the Nazi Party and soon became an active supporter of it, making financial contributions to the SS and being awarded the title of Patron.

In January 1947, he was found guilty by a denazification court and had to pay a large fine.[1] He died the following year.

Opel is the grandfather of Rikky von Opel and Gunter Sachs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Günter Neliba: Die Opel-Werke im Konzern von General Motors (1929–1948) in Rüsselsheim und Brandenburg. Brandes & Apsel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-86099-179-5.